“TO UNDERSTAND AMERICA, READ MARK TWAIN”: HANDSOMELY BOUND 25-VOLUME “AUTHOR’S EDITION DE LUXE” OF TWAIN’S WORKS, SIGNED BY HIM, WITH TWO MANUSCRIPT LEAVES, ONE IN TWAIN’S HAND
TWAIN, Mark. The Writings of Mark Twain. London: Chatto & Windus, 1899-1907. Twenty-five volumes. Octavo, publisher's three-quarter brown morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, uncut and partly unopened. $21,000.
First English issue of the “Author’s Édition de Luxe” of Twain’s works, number 184 of 620 copies signed by him as “SL Clemens (Mark Twain)” on the limitation page. With two autograph leaves—the first in Twain’s hand, the second in the hand of Charles Dudley Warner, with whom Twain co-authored the book—in The Gilded Age (Volume 10).
"To understand America, read Mark Twain. No matter what new craziness pops up in America, I find it described beforehand by him? He was never innocent, at home or abroad" (Garry Wills). Illustrated with over 150 tissue-guarded plates on Japan vellum, including etchings, photogravures and engravings, with numerous frontispiece portraits of Twain; among the artists represented are Peter Newell, Dan Beard, A.B. Frost, E.W. Kemble, Frank Merrill and F.V. Dumond. Tiffany and Co. designed the additional engraved title page in each volume. With two leaves of autograph manuscript from The Gilded Age tipped into Volume 10, The Gilded Age. As always with this set, the second leaf is in the hand of Charles Dudley Warner, with whom Twain co-authored The Gilded Age. The first leaf, entirely in Twain's hand, reads, in full: "148 …property for $15,000 cash, I to go in with them & own an individual interest of one-half the concern,— or the stock, as you may say. I'm out of business & I'd just as soon help run the thing as not. Now how does that strike you?' 'Well, I am only an agent of these people, who are friends of mine, & they I am not even paid for my services. To tell you the truth, I have tried to persuade them not to go into the thing; & I have come square out with their offer, without throwing out any feelers— & I did in the hope that…"
Spines uniformly lightly darkened, extremities with expert restoration; a few inner hinges expertly reinforced. Quite handsome.